If one thing’s for sure, uncertain times lie ahead for the British economy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in manufacturing: a recent CBI survey found that optimism amongst UK manufacturers has reached its lowest point since the global financial crisis. With widespread political uncertainty and a weak pound (alongside many other factors) contributing towards an ambiguous economic outlook, UK manufacturers face more pressure than ever to remain competitive.


Against this troubling backdrop, it’s important to look for inspiration and insight – and, here, we can look no further than our dear friend, the manufacturing trade show. With dozens of shows across the UK each year, they’re an excellent platform to promote your business, engage with industry players and keep abreast of developments. But with so many shows to choose from, and time always at a premium, which are worth your while? To make your decision easier, here’s our shortlist of unmissable shows.


Held at Birmingham’s NEC, this is one of the big ones, hosting exhibitors in different, specialist zones – which, handily, makes it very easy to target the types of businesses you want to deal with. The exhibitor list is nice and varied too; not only does it include many of the big OEMs, but lots of smaller manufacturers also get involved, which is useful for building closer links at every stage of the supply chain.


This one tends to focus more on the supply chain than other shows, which is great if you’re a manufacturer looking to expand your supplier network. And, with the advent of Industry 4.0 and the growing need for greater connectivity throughout the supply chain, a well-integrated network is more important than ever. It also features a number of seminars on crucial industry trends, so there’s always plenty to get your teeth into


Before we launch into the whole ’northerners vs. southerners’ debate, it’s worth pointing out that you can check out either one of these shows – whatever and wherever works best for you. Not only is there free parking (every little helps), but it focuses on technological developments in robotics and automation in a lot more detail than most other shows. Definitely get this on your list if you’re looking to connect with OEMs and suppliers.


  • Subcon, 6-8 June, Birmingham

As the name suggests, this event is for the outsourced engineering services market. With global competition as fierce as ever, often the only way to remain cost-effective is by subcontracting to a specialist supplier. So, here’s a great opportunity to build crucial relationships with the best; meeting trusted subcontractors who can help you gain a real competitive edge.


The inaugural show is set to take place in November this year and looks to build on the success of previous events organised by Works Management magazine in promoting best practice in UK industry. Combining an exhibition with a seminar and workshop programme, this is set to become a must-attend for busy manufacturing managers who need quick answers to their most pressing challenges.


The self-proclaimed ‘biggest manufacturing-led industry 4.0 event in the UK’ (catchy), this expo is the centrepiece of The Manufacturer magazine’s annual programme. With an enviable line-up of accomplished cross-sector speakers and stakeholders from both industry and academia, it promises to provide crucial insights from the thought leaders at the forefront of Industry 4.0.


All down in the diary? Great – because we’d love to hear what your top manufacturing events are. And, of course, if you’re exhibiting at these or any other trade shows next year, we can help. Drop us a line at hello@wyattinternational.com.

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